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GRIMM'S GHOST.

LETTER XXV.

Men of the Middle Ages.

My last letter left Sir Mark Medium rising from the dinner-table of Colonel Nightingale, in Albemarle-street, ready to adjourn to coffee, and intending to do execution upon the hearts of the numerous young ladies, of whose advent the street-door knocker had recently given audible notice. Hardly had our bosom piercer reached the half landingplace, when the sound of the pianoforte struck upon his ears. "Ah! luckless Damocles!" ejaculated to himself the compassionate baronet, "little dreamest thou of him who is upon the stairs! The arrow of Cupid is suspended over thy heart by a single thread. Open the door and thou diest! Let me consider-shall I be merciful to thee, and merely take the base of 'When shall we three meet again?' Shall I slightly wound thee by taking a second in 'The Manly Heart?' Shall I enveigle thy useful affections beyond hopes of extrication by 'Believe me if all these endearing young charms?' or shall I drop a mildew upon thy opening expectations by 'I have sworn to love no more?" " Thus pondering between mercy and justice (like Richardson doubting whether he should slay Lovelace or let him live to repent-vide Mrs. Barbauld's Letters of that voluminously self-satisfied printer,) Sir Mark Medium reached the first floor of Colonel Nightingale's dwelling.

Every landing-place of every first floor of every mansion in decent repute, amid the votaries of ton, from York-gate, Regent's-park, down to Welbeck-street, ("And really, gentlemen, I can go no lower,") exhibits to the evening visitor, as he swerves slightly to his right, two white painted doors, that on his right conducting him to music and juvenility, in the back drawing-room, and that on his left to cards and the middle ages, mixed with antiquity in the front drawing-room. The Mantuan bard has hit it to a T.

Hic locus est, partes ubi se via findit in ambas :
Dextera, quæ Ditis magni sub monia tendit :
Hac iter Elysium nobis: at læva malorum
Exercet pœnas, et ad unpia Tartara mittit.

The baronet was too intent on slaughter to consider what he was about He therefore took the "læva malorum" path, and was in the impious Tartarus of clubs, odd tricks and rubbers before he knew where he was. "What, one of us at last ?" exclaimed old Mrs. Griffiths, "come, cut in, you're just in time. Well now, Sir Mark, that 's comfortable, that's rational; leave the young ones to amuse themselves, and let us amuse ourselves. Only conceive two card-tables are all we can muster. Ah! you and I remember the time when evening parties were something like."-"Something like what, madam? Every thing is like something.""I mean something like what they should be. When Mrs. Fitzherbert lived in Pall-Mall, let me see! about the year 95, ay that was about the time, you and I might count twenty cardtables in the two rooms. Young women then amused themselves rationally, by sitting at the edge of the table and seeing their mammas deal; but now-a-days away they whisk to the piano-forte, or set up a

VOL. IX. No. 54.-1825.

77

quadrille, and put the whole house into such a see-saw, that it 's actually enough to make us old ones as giddy as themselves."_" Heavens! what a spiteful old hag," muttered Sir Mark to himself, as with a polite bow and a smile he declined the proffered nine of diamonds, and walked into the land of harmony. Miss Boodle had just been prevailed upon to draw off her gloves. Her father was rich enough to afford Garcia: nobody therefore could doubt her abilities. Much music was in due course turned over before the proper article could be pitched upon. She should be very happy, she was sure, to sing any thingany thing in the world: that was to say, any thing not English: Il maestra would never forgive her if he heard of her singing English. "And hear of it he undoubtedly would, my dear," said the wife of the man who was rich enough to afford Garcia. "Don't you remember, Harriet, when Sir Mark Medium prevailed upon you to take a part in 'Fair Aurora ?' your mouth did tolerably well, considering the language it had to articulate, till you came to Think what anguish !' when that unhappy final syllable guish gave your mouth such a wrench, that it required six Roman love-songs and two Venetian canzonettes to put it strait again."-"I remember it well, madam," said Sir Mark Medium: "unfortunately when Artaxerxes was written, our poetry went along bumping like Brentford pavement. The author of the Irish Melodies has since Macadamized our metre in a very masterly manner. He has picked out the big consonants and broken the five vowels into little bits, so that the voice now runs over them like a Stanhope down Portlandplace. If Miss Boodle could but be prevailed upon to try Go where glory waits thee,' I shall be too happy to"-"Oh no," interrupted the daughter of the man who was rich enough to afford Garcia, "if the Signor were to catch me at English a second time, I am sure he never would enter the house again." Many music books were again tumbled over, until "Di piacer" was fixed upon, and Miss Boodle squared her elbows for action.

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Sir Mark Medium was no particular admirer of Italian music: his taste did not extend beyond the Irish Melodies: by their aid he had for nearly twenty years been slaughtering the sex: and he loved his lyric auxiliaries even as the generalissimo loves the ancient charger that bore him in the battle. The baronet, however, had heard Madame Ronzi de Begnis sing " Di piacer," and had been elevated to delight (as who has not) by her delicate yet impassioned delivery of it. "Enough," said Sir Mark to himself, when the formal and frigid daughter of him who was rich enough to afford Garcia, had concluded her brevura, “I suspected it before she began. Whenever I see a girl with freckles and flaxen eyelashes attempt to do any thing, I know beforehand that it won't do." The daughter of the man who was rich enough to afford Garcia now descended from her red morocco throne, and straitway a dark hollow-chested daughter of Euterpe seized the reins of empire. Any want of strength or spirit which might have been exhibited by her predecessor was now amply compensated by the muscular organ_of Miss Simms. 66 Home, sweet home," was dwelt upon most emphatically. "I never new the value of domestic felicity," said Mrs. Lumi, " until I heard that song. It is always sure to make me wish myself back in Bruton-street, or indeed any where but where I am when I hear it."

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He of the middle ages now thought it high time to commence his murderous career. But how to begin, and what to begin with,-that's the rub. The adage of putting our best leg foremost does not always apply to one's best song. It's all very well if you are not called upon for another; but if you are, heavens ! then where are you? It's a dead anti-climax, and Butterworth after Wilberforce is but a type of it. The baronet dived amid music, consigned by its modish proprietor to the vault of all the Capulets, and drew forth a dusty copy of "Spirit of my Sainted Sire." This he, as if casually, put upon the top of the instrument, and in a few seconds happened to cast his eye upon it; then, with all the see.ning carelessness of Mathews asking the price of a portrait of Mrs. Bracegirdle, half hidden by a wash-hand stand in a broker's shop, he took up the deposit, and insinuated it half-way toward Miss Simms, who was now battling with Beethoven, totally unable to find rest for the sole of her tune. "That's not a bad thing," cried Medium, protruding his song, after the conflict was ended. "Poor Michael Kelly used to give it with considerable effect.”—“ Ay! that he did," interrupted the remorseless Mullens. "You and I, Sir Mark, came up from Pembroke the first season of the Haunted Tower, to hear him sing it. Was it in eighty-nine or ninety?" Miss Simms gently took "Spirit of my Sainted Sire" in hand, and after a momentary perusal, threw it back into the vault of the Capulets. "That's so like a girl with freckles," said the baronet to himself. Little daunted, however, by his failure, Sir Mark again took advantage of a Der Freischutz din to fish among the tweedledum of other days, and drew forth a bound number of the Irish Melodies. 66 Come," thought he to himself, "the devil's in it if this won't do-here's Go where Glory' The harp that once-Take back the virgin page'-'Oh haste and leave this lonely Isle'-Oh I must hit them now." Sir Mark in about ten minutes put "Go where glory waits thee," before Miss Simms. Glory went where the "Spirit of my Sainted Sire" had gone before it. Sir Mark insinuated "The harp that once" into its place. "The harp that once" did such wonders was fated not to do them twice. Sir Mark manfully opened "Take back the virgin page," and Miss Simms made him do as the poet directed. By way of final effort, Sir Mark struck up Sir Saint Senanus and the lady; but no sooner had he ejaculated "Oh haste and leave this lonely Isle," than Miss Simms did what the Saint desired, and jumped from her red morocco throne as rapidly as if Saint Senanus himself were at her elbow. "That's so like a girl with flaxen eyelashes," said the baronet to himself. "Well! I see how it is-Love himself no longer lords it over the sex; that infernal Der Freischutz has bedevilled them all; all the terrors that used to be confined to the addled skulls of the Germans are let loose upon London, and are suing a candid and enlightened public under the copartnership firm of imps, toads, bats, gunpowder, bullets, and bones. This, Mullens, is enough to try a man's fortitude." "It should have done that ten years ago," answered the tormenter. "At present it must try your fifty-tude. Come, Medium, continued Mullens, "let you and I shew them what music is;" so saying, off the two semi-centinarians started with a duet. I cannot speak highly of either of their voices, Sir Mark, however, helped out his tenor by wrinkling his forehead, and

Mullens strengthened his base by making a double chin. The duet ran as follows:

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"And the boys like your what, sir?" asked old Mrs. Griffiths, who had now quitted the card-room fifteen shillings the better. "Like my friend, ma'am," answered Mullens. "Humph," ejaculated the lady; "it will occasionally happen in the best regulated families; but it 's an odd thing to pray for."

Colonel Nightingale, the lord of the mansion, now made his appearance from below with the few remaining Bacchanalians whom he had at length estranged from the glass-handled decanter. Straitway all was Italian, and Sir Mark Medium and his Irish Melodies were voted hors de combat. The baronet accordingly sauntered toward the other drawing-room; but, disdaining the imputation of whist, sat in the door-way, suspended in the manner narrated in my last epistle. Several lions now made their appearance, whom Mrs. Nightingale, leonum arida nutrix, had summoned on the occasion, consisting of a North West voyager, a Scotch writer on the corn laws, a physician who knew all about magnetism, a piping bull-finch, and an abolisher of negro slavery. Mrs. Lumm took this opportunity also of opening a new edition, by Mr. Roscoe, of the works of one Alexander Pope, an obscure poet of the last century, and began to entertain the company by reciting the Dunciad and Mrs. Willoughby, the evangelical anti-breeder, talked of a discourse at which she had been present at the Rotunda in the Blackfriar's-road. Sir Mark Medium, from his central position, was like the Public Ledger, "open to all parties, but influenced by none?" His ears in consequence drank in the following sounds. "Doubly single, and the rubber! Well I never saw such a run since I first beheld the Great Mogul."

"See how the world its veterans rewards,
A youth of follies an old age of cards."

"Who led the club ?" "Batti, batti, o bel meselto!" "I can assure you, ma'am, Rowland Hill gave us a most excellent sermon.”

"Still break the benches, Henley, with thy strain."

"I never knew a man with half his humour!" "Humour, madam, in a preacher?" "Yes; he set a psalm to the Irish air of 'Drops of Brandy,' saying that he did not see, for his part, why the devil should have all the good tunes."

"Besides the directive power of the needle in azimuth, it has also a certain direction of inclination called the dip."-"Dear me ! pretty creature. See how it draws up its own little bucket of water.”. "The average price of wheat would therefore be reduced eight or nine shillings a quarter by opening the ports."-" Certainly-remarkably warm-Desdemona-Von Weber--Devil and Doctor Faustus“Madame Pasta !" "A negro is God's image carved in ebony.”—“ Very

true, ma'am, and very new, ma'am."-"One's own sufferings ought to teach one sympathy with those of others."-"Admirably observed, madam: I for my part practice what other people preach. I have, whenever I met with a neat's tongue at table, chewed it with peculiar tenderness, ever since I happened to bite my own."

Not a little annoyed by a Babel, of which not a single brick was his own, Sir Mark Medium now made a sullen and sudden retreat. He has lately been paying his addresses to a young woman of eighteen, tall, well-shaped, and in quest of an establishment. Ghost as I am, I expect before I am resummoned to Phlegethon to see him united in the bands of wedlock-the cradle-rocked Tithonus of a Guildford-street Aurora. Till then I bid him farewell.

A LADY'S ALBUM.

In this age of reviews, when every author who puts forth his book, and every painter who exhibits his picture, is sure of the gratification of reading his character wherever he goes, it appears peculiarly hard that a very important description of work, which unites the beauties of them both, should be altogether neglected. I mean those excellent establishments for the encouragement of literature and the fine arts called Ladies' Albums, the rapid increase of which has done such visible wonders for the benefit of polite society. How many of the choice geniuses of the age are here indebted for their first inspiration! How many, but for this, had been compelled to remain on their perch for want of a fair field to try their wings, and how greedily will posterity scramble after gilt-edged books with golden clasps to trace the germ of the great works which have descended to them! Alas! had our grandmothers—but it cannot be helped, and every happy undertaking like the inventions of Albums may cause us to lament that the world has gone on so long without it. All that we can do is to perpetuate our blessings for our children, and with this view I can do no less than encourage my fair friends in their new pursuit by reviewing all the Albums which fall in my way. I do this with the greatest satisfaction as it is partly in payment of a debt of gratitude, seeing that it was in them that I myself commenced fluttering my wings, and I feel that, like the lark, whatever height I may soar I shall still look with an eye of affection to the nest from which I sprang. Most fortunately does it happen, that I have not soared too far to describe it with becoming exactness, for, if the truth must be confessed, the secret of my ability was only communicated to me last week, and the admiring reader is now gazing on my first adventurous flight.

My nest-blessings on it! It was the prettiest nest that ever was made, and the bird that fostered me was a bird of Paradise. Its eyes were as blue as the heavens, and its voice was sweet as any within them. "Dear Mr. ," it sung, "I am sure you are a poet, and therefore you must write in my Album." Alas, how could I doubt ? Had such a voice assured me that I was Apollo himself I should have believed it. To drop the metaphor, which is not convenient, I took the book which was locked, as well it might where there was so much to steal, and began seriously to be daunted by its costly appearance of red morocco and emblazoned Cupids. I felt that it was only meant to

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